Theatre company Paines Plough’s Come To Where I’m From programme offers a theatrical tapestry of the UK, woven by writers asking if home really is where the heart is. Since 2010, 88 playwrights from across the UK have returned to their home towns to write plays about the places that shaped them. Here, Zodwa Nyoni’s 2013 monologue for the series represents a meditation on place, belonging and the author’s Zimbabwean roots.
Plays by Zodwa Nyoni
One man and a suitcase filled with the past, uncertainty, high heels, brokenness, African dancing shells and hope.
Ishmael has been outed, along with his lover, David. He has sought sanctuary in the UK, but is this evidence enough? As Ishmael waits to hear his fate, he encounters new friends – and enemies, all the while looking for a place to call home again. Zodwa Nyoni threads together humour and humanity to tell the real personal story behind asylum headlines.
Nine Lives was developed as part of the West Yorkshire Playhouse’s A Play, A Pie and A Pint programme in 2014 and received a UK national tour in 2015.
Five young poets from Leeds are selected to compete at the world's most prestigious international poetry slam competition in New York City.
Fuelled by love, pride and passionate protest, their words light fires to show the world who they are and what they can be. But the determination to be crowned International Slam Champions threatens to overwhelm everything. As the competition draws closer, the poets are forced to discover not just their voices, but what they must find the courage to say.
Ode to Leeds is a funny and moving coming-of-age story; a celebration of Leeds and language; and an ode to the art that changed Nyoni's own life. It blends spoken word poetry, heart and soul to provide a poignant and uplifting portrait of the city of Leeds.
© Zanele Nyoni
Zodwa Nyoni is a Zimbabwean-born playwright and poet based in Leeds, UK. As winner of the Channel 4 Playwright's Scheme, she was Writer-in-Residence at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2014. Her first full-length play, Boi Boi is Dead, was shortlisted for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize 2014/15. Other theatre credits include: Tangled Roots (2014), Nine Lives (2014), Come To Where I'm From (2013), The Market (2013), Di Daakes' Part A Di Night (2013), Home Has Died (2012), Why The Drought Returns (2012), The Night Shift (2011) and The Povo Die Till Freedom Comes (2010). She has been the recipient of the following awards: Award for the Arts 2011 (Leeds Black Awards) and the Young Black and Asian Writers Award (The Big Issue in the North's Short Story Competition 2011).